Income & self-sufficiency

A chance to meet up with friends and have a chat - a general space with the freedom to talk about anything.
Post Reply
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:12 pm
latitude: 48.45
longitude: 0.116667

Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286418Post crepesuzette »

How do you get the balance right between being as self sufficient as possible and earning money?
I used to work part time which left plenty of time for growing food, foraging and looking after animals but didn't really provide enough to live on. I now work full time (business has taken off which is great) but no longer have the time I want at home. If I cut back on my work, I'll have to cut back on expenditure but as I live fairly simply there's not a lot of options there. So what do other people do? How do you finance yourselves? Do you work from home? Is it possible to produce enough extra food/animals that you can live off the profit? Or do you live like me - self-sufficient where possible but relying on outside work to pay the bills?

User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:50 am
Location: Wesht Cark, RoI

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286423Post doofaloofa »

My wife brings home most of the cash

I'm a kept man

I look on the growing and animal husbandry as a hobby to enjoy rather than a living

Apart from the forestry which saves us a rake of cash in fuel
ina wrote: die dümmsten Bauern haben die dicksten Kartoffeln

User avatar
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1855
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:23 pm
Location: North West Ireland

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286424Post diggernotdreamer »

Pay off your mortgage if you have one, anyway you can, without that thing round your neck you can work shorter hours to pay utilities and other bills etc. I think we live on about 200 pounds a week our biggest outgoing is our electricity bill, which is about 100 pounds a month including the standing charges, going offgrid may save money, which we can't do as we have engineering machines to run. We buy bottled gas to run the hob and oil to heat the house so we are in control of that, we have our own well water as well so no water charges. We do save a lot of money on food by growing all our own vegetables, the only things I buy are frozen peas and if I have a bit of a failure sweet peppers. The other way we save money is that the OH can fix everything himself, he rebuilt our house and does everything that needs doing. But this is subsistence living, there are no savings in the bank.

User avatar
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2130
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286428Post Flo »

crepesuzette wrote:Is it possible to produce enough extra food/animals that you can live off the profit? Or do you live like me - self-sufficient where possible but relying on outside work to pay the bills?
Very much like you now.

I come from a farming background and to live off the land we had to have a lot of acres and staff. You need to start with cash in the bank to be able to build up to having even a small holding that will cover enough for all your needs. You also need a lot of skills in the way of an ability to mend almost everything that can go wrong or to be able to trade your skills for the ones you don't have. That's before you come to knowing how to grow profitably and to afford stock.

If you can manage to install a wind turbine, solar panels, ground source for heating or any combination of all to be able to go off grid then you save the need for paying for electricity and heating. Wood burning is fine if you can source wood free or cheap on a large scale (that's not easy). But there's investment needed there (reason for cash in bank).

You will also need some mechanical aids (tractor, plough, tillers and such) to run a small holding to produce your own food and to give you something to see for re-investment in seeds and stock, fertilisers and feeding stock (reason for starting out with cash in bank to get you going). You'll probably need other skills to enable you to work elsewhere to bring your income even to subsistence level.

A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 8182
Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 9:16 pm
Location: Kincardineshire, Scotland

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286433Post ina »

Flo wrote:You need to start with cash in the bank to be able to build up to having even a small holding that will cover enough for all your needs.
Nod, nod... That's my problem in a nutshell!

I had quite a few savings - but it seems middle aged women aren't good for any job (except part time shop work and cleaning, at minimum wages), so my savings are going down, I have no chance in hell of ever becoming more self sufficient because I need at least some cash to make a start...

Saying that, I do try to get as much out of my (council house) garden as possible, and try to make the most of anything that's going free, so it's more on the -ish side of self sufficient for me, and that's how it's likely to stay. Still hoping for a proper job one of these days, though.
I'm a size 10, really; I wear a 20 for comfort. (Gina Yashere)

Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:09 am
Location: Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286436Post tosca »

We couldn't do it. Not even just growing enough veggies, without us both working. Allotments were non-existant in our area and no land share opportunities. We could have sold the house and rented, but then we would have had to work to pay the rent and bills anyway as well as working the land. In middle age and with infirmities creeping on, not an option.

So we sold up and moved here. We are mortgage free, almost self sufficient in food, work hard through most of the year and OH gets work where he can and when he can fit it in. I have a tiny pension which pays for any luxuries. Utilities are cheap, we have a well but no solar as we hadn't the money to install it. We only have half an acre but the two goats (one milking at a time) go out with the shepherd most of the year, which costs a quid a week each and it would cost more than that to feed them otherwise. We make cheese and yoghurt. We have chickens for eggs and some meat (OH) and ducks for eggs and babies to sell, bees, fruit and nut trees, we barter eggs, chutney, jam, help etc for meat and whatever. We pay around 200 pounds a month for utilities, taxes, car and animal food, flour, sugar, cleaning and the like, diesel comes out of whatever OH earns as that is when the car is used.

We have hot sunny long summers, short sharp (very) winters, lovely neighbours, know many more people than we ever did in the UK and are very happy! We have no kids so nobody to miss us except OH's parents and they are near London to easy to fly to.

It's the best thing we could have done despite some money worries

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9269
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286445Post Green Aura »

You only refer to "I" and not "we", crepesuzette. I think it's nigh on impossible to become self-sufficient alone unless you're willing to pretty much give up 21st century life.

However, if your business is doing well (I have no idea what it is,obviously) my first thought is - would it be better to concentrate on that for a while until you can maybe take on staff and then slow down a bit?

That may not be your ideal solution but these days there's not much of a safety net if your business folds because you went further down the self-sufficient route.

Just do what you can in the garden etc and don't beat yourself up for not doing more. Don't forget that most of us are "ish" on here. :hugish:

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 142
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:52 am
Location: Central Portugal

Re: Income & self-sufficiency

Post: # 286487Post Uller »

Like Tosca, we moved abroad, although we came south to central Portugal. We bought our house and small bit of land with the proceeds of the sale of our house in the UK so are mortgage free and OH is a self employed graphic designer - his very part time work is our only income.

We are far from even self sufficientish in food, way off what Tosca produces, so our expenditure is about £600 per month - as we develop the garden we hope that will come down.
Blogging about a new life in Portugal -

Post Reply